As the world continues to cope with Covid-19 and the future implications remain uncertain, it is essential for utilities companies to focus on what they can control, such as how they treat their customers.
Having a positive and compassionate attitude towards customers matters and businesses that focus to improve customer experiences will pay dividends during this unsettling time.
As a valued communications provider to large enterprises across the world, VoiceSage found means to solve some of the biggest challenges for utility companies to help them transform their customer experiences such as:
- empathetic means of collecting debt that is suitable to the consumer
- smartphone meter reading capability to increase efficiency
- highly effective tools to increase customer engagement
Improve Debt Collection Process
Collecting debt while retaining a customer relationship is both an art and a science. So, how can companies create positive customer experiences when collecting debt?
All factors such as the time to contact customers, the means (letters, emails, text messages), the payment plans, the ability to self-serve, etc. are opportunities to improve and show how well you treat your customers during a collection cycle.
Create a simple and engaging debt collection process with Rich Media Messaging (RMM) that can be sent via text, email, social media or WhatsApp for Business. This is the upgraded version of a SMS, a richer message that takes the customer to a separate mobile web page, fully personalized to your brand guidelines that offers the customers the options to:
- Pay the bill in full
- Make more frequent, smaller payments
- Set up a payment plan
- Make a promise to pay
- Speak to an advisor
If customers choose to speak to an advisor, this can be done via a text or a phone call. VoiceSage’s SMS and Voice solutions connect customers to the right department from the first try. If they move forward with a payment option, they can complete their payment details in a secure manner, without leaving the web page. We found that the majority of customers chose RMM as their preferred way of paying bills, with one utility provider collecting €1,000,000 over a 12 months period and one large weekly payment retailers collecting £14 million in a year.
Another benefit of offering self-service options is to empower customers to take more control over their account without phoning call centres. One of our clients, SSE Airtricity, reduced outbound calls by 30% and increased engagement rates by 48%. Read case study here.
Collect Meter Readings Faster and Easier
Due to restrictions during the pandemic, many companies are unable to physically conduct meter readings, which can leave customers feeling anxious and unaware of how much their next utility bill will be. Utility companies have a short and long term need to get accurate readings of meters rather than relying on bi-monthly estimates that will not work during lockdown with the majority of commercial businesses shut down.
VoiceSage enables customers to submit their own mobile meter readings during lockdown and beyond and to allow account managers to contact their customers directly with tailored RMM messages.
Our RMM solution lets a customer take a photo of their electricity, gas or water meter to get the latest, most accurate reading and send it instantly to their utility provider. It’s over 75% faster than traditional meter reading systems and far easier for you to use.
Automate Conversations for a Better Customer Experience in Utilities
During this pandemic, many businesses are turning to automation to address the high volumes of inbound contacts that they’re facing. A recent report found that companies that use automation within their customer support teams are 41% more likely to expect to reach their targets this month.
There are many ways to automate your customer service. One option is to send automated messages with auto SMS. Automation saves time while ensuring that your customers instantly get the right response and your lists are accurately updated based on the keywords in your received messages.
Many contact centres are working remotely now. Help your agents work more efficiently by integrating our Interactive Voice Messaging (IVM) into your process. Automated outbound calling boosts right person contact rates by an average of 65%, helping agents resolve routine queries faster, so that they can focus to solve more complex or sensitive queries such as assisting customers who are having trouble paying their bills.
By minimising customer effort and adopting proactive mobile solutions, you can greatly improve the experience of your customers, making their experience with your brand easy, engaging and efficient.
Published on: 29th April 2020